For many of us, 2020 has zipped past at lightning speed, and here we are again, with Christmas around the corner and online retail ramping up. Global eCommerce has had a rollercoaster year, with the effects of lockdown being felt across the world & retail patterns adjusting accordingly. One thing emerging from all of the analysis is that the usual sharp peak for Black Friday will be diminished, as Peak Trading will start much earlier than 27th November. You might be a ‘gold star pupil’ and have already got your prep work done, but if you haven’t, below are some questions to help kick start your Peak Trading planning.
Best of luck!
Have you thought about it yet?
If not, then do it today. All the industry data indicates that 2020 Peak Shopping will start earlier than ever before & competition for share-of-wallet will be fierce in these uncertain times.
Black Friday/ Cyber Monday is still 7 weeks away, but with Amazon Prime day coming later this year, and new Shopping Events appearing on the retail calendar, like this year’s new shopping holiday, ‘10/10’, our advice to our retailers is to start your activity asap.
Are you a ‘Black Friday’ brand?
Maybe you don’t do offers, or don’t like to discount, and that’s fine. But chances are you’ve still got a loyal customer base who would like to hear from you when they’re in ‘Shopping Mode’. Consider an ‘anti Black Friday’ angle on your communications – maybe you donate a % of profit to a charity you believe in, or maybe you do a ‘Surprise & Delight’ gift for all purchases over BFCM weekend.
If you’re planning on doing some promos, check out the abcommerce Support site, for some ideas & suggestions.
Have you looked at the Data?
Look at your sales data from last year, to get an accurate picture on what was sold and when. This will help you forecast what you’re likely to sell through on, and also when your peaks are. You might have forgotten just how crucial those last few days were, or how important a particular SKU was to your overall margin.
You can find this data in the abcommerce dashboard, or Google Analytics
Have you got the Stock?
Your last year data will also indicate what stock you need to build (if possible). You’ll need depth in your stronger categories if you plan to back them with offers, or even extra marketing.
Consider proactively building stock specifically for promotions. Select SKUs that you can go to a deeper discount on & therefore shout about, and this will help protect margin on your bestsellers that you’ll sell through anyway .
Have you got your Campaigns planned?
Did you notice last year that you launched your offer, had a great day or two, then sales tailed off? That’s because the most robust Peak Trading plan will have new offers & campaign messaging launching regularly.
Maybe it’s a new offer every week or every few days. Maybe you’re just going to pick key days, like ‘10/10’, Singles Day (11/) AND Black Friday (27/11). Either way, you need to keep it fresh for your customers.
Have you got adequate Marketing Resource?
‘If you build it, they will come’… eh, no they won’t. You need to ramp up your Digital Marketing efforts to cut through all the noise, and bring customers to your site. If you’ve got an internal resource, make sure this person has got enough capacity to keep all the plates in the air and isn’t required to also assist in store/ answer the phones/gift wrap parcels!
If you’re thinking about adding an external resource to help you through, your best bet is to hire an agency on an initial short term contract to help you through Peak, and you can always review & extend in the New Year if you’re happy with them. abcommerce integrates quickly and easily with your Social Media and Google profiles, so you can get up & running fast.
Have you got the Operational capacity?
Every Website manager has the war stories about a day that order volumes took off like a rocket, and it was ‘all hands on deck’ in the Warehouse to get the orders out. If you’ve got everything else right, then this happy problem will most definitely come your way. Make sure you’ve planned enough cover in your Fulfilment team to get the orders out, and also in your Customer Care team, to field the calls.
Have you got a Plan B?
Be Flexible.. Don’t be afraid to turn the bus around if your plan is not working. Monitor your Sales and Traffic daily, and if you are not hitting forecast, or beating Last Year’s numbers by a stretch, then you need to pivot. If you’ve planned properly, you’ll be able to bring forward campaigns, move promotions around & make Digital Marketing calls that will help you reach your goal.